Missed training not affecting Albano, Divine Beauty but
could impact Ria Antonia
As of Thursday morning, with Brereton
Jones’ sophomore duo of Albano and Divine Beauty just 24 days away from their
next assignments on February 22, Louisiana Derby Preview Day, trainer Larry Jones was
taking the three lost days of training at Fair Grounds in
his typical easygoing style.
“We’re all good,” Jones said speaking outside his tack room
as bright, sunny weather began to warm the three straight nights of hard freezes
in New Orleans. “Those big races (the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star for Albano and Grade
3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra for Divine Beauty) are still so far away that we’ll
be all right with those two horses.
“In this business you have to learn to compensate,” the horseman continued. “Everybody is in the same boat. It’s the horses I have in this week that
I’m a little worried about. I don’t want them getting over there (to the
starting gate) and acting all crazy. Those are the kinds of horses I’ll have to
keep an eye on. But for those big races coming up we should be OK.”
Jones also has Brereton Jones’ Same Cross entered for
Saturday’s Happy Ticket as one of two stakes scheduled for the
day, but Same Cross worked Monday morning before the hard freeze set in,
clocking five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 over the sloppy surface in preparation for Saturday’s six-furlong
sprint for older fillies and mares.
Also getting works in Monday morning were several horses
from trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn including Gold Hawk,
who breezed a half-mile in :50 1/5 in advance of the Risen Star.
Other Asmussen trainees on the Monday tab were Prayer for Relief, who went a half in
:51 2/5 in preparation for the Grade
3, $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap on Louisiana Derby Preview Day, and
Daddy Nose Best, who got four furlongs in :51 3/5 in advance of a possible
appearance in the Grade 3, $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap over the Stall-Wilson turf
course on that same gala afternoon of racing.
The Asmussen-trained Tapiture, winner of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club at last asking on
November 30, was caught in 1:13 for three-quarters on Monday.
In other Louisiana Derby Preview Day news, Ria Antonia is still under
consideration for both the Risen Star and Rachel Alexandra. The Rockport Harbor
filly, awarded the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies win in her last start on
November 2 at
Santa Anita, shipped into Fair Grounds on January 11.
A start against fillies in the Rachel
increasingly being considered by her connections in lieu of the Risen Star, but
as of Thursday morning Ron Paolucci, owner of Loooch Racing and manager of Ria
Antonia’s career, was uncertain exactly what the future is for the bay miss.
“The weather down there is really putting a damper on our
plans,” Paolucci admitted. “We were on a tight schedule anyway, and when they closed
the track for training again this morning for a third day we’re even on a
tighter schedule now.
“I realize we can’t help what Mother Nature does, but we originally had her
scheduled for six breezes before her next race on a Saturday-to-Saturday
schedule, then it was five and now we might be down to four,” he explained. “It would cost me a lot of money to ship my filly
somewhere else, but I can’t hurt my filly if she’s not ready in time.
for her now have become more uncertain. We’ll just have to see how she does on a
day-to-day basis — at least for the next few days.”
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